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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks Paperback – November 14, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks
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  • High: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2 (Adrenaline Books)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Some of the most exciting and harrowing mountaineering events ever chronicled are collected in Epic. From Jon Krakauer's solo ascent of Devil's Thumb in Alaska to John Climaco's account of being threatened by a homicidal Pakistani army officer in the Himalayas, these are stories of survival in nature's most inhospitable places.

From Library Journal

The hypnotic appeal of danger, hardship, extreme elements, and facing death are fascinating to many readers, as witnessed by the popularity of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air. Both books related the drama surrounding nature at its most violent and dangerous. Epic is a compilation of 15 memorable expeditions to world-famous peaks. Included here are Jon Krakauer's solo ascent of Devil's Thumb in Alaska, a winter ascent of Mt. McKinley, and Alfred Lansing's narrative of the 1915 Shackleton expedition. The listener experiences cold, hunger, and fright at the hands of writers who are actual climbers. Their words are powerful because they ring with authenticity. The hardships these climbers endured go almost beyond human comprehension. In one story, a man is stricken with blood clots in his legs; his team members go through tremendous difficulties in an attempt to bring him down rather than continue their climb to the summit. Another story recounts a blinding snowstorm that keeps climbers in their tents for many days and describes the great efforts that must be made merely to melt enough water to stay alive. Rough Water is an anthology of sea stories, mixing fictional excerpts from lengthier works with accounts of factual disasters and includes a portion of Two Years Before the Mast and an episode from Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny. Among the most fascinating are Lawrence Beesley's eyewitness account of the sinking of the Titanic and a shipwreck survivor's diary of a 74-day ordeal aboard an inflatable raft. What keeps Rough Water from being as compelling as Epic is the offsetting move from true-life encounters to fictional stories and from chapters that leave you hanging, either wanting to know what happens or not caring about the outcome. Epic, on the other hand, is powerful, bringing the prospect of frostbitten flesh, chattering teeth, sudden avalanches, and treacherous ice paths into vivid clarity. The listener feels the intense discomforts and experiences the worry of the climbers but, with morbid fascination, still wants more. Both collections are read by experienced audio narrators Rick Adamson, Eric Conger, Alan Sklar, Graeme Malcolm, Simon Prebble, and the king himself, George Guidall. Each reader performs competently, adding to the suspense and momentum of each story. Parts of the "Adrenaline Series," both books are recommended for public library collections.
-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (November 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560251549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560251545
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Like everybody else, I read "Into Thin Air" and bought more mountaineering books, this being one. Luckily, climbers tend to be a pretty literary lot, because the basic theme of all these books is : Damn, we're out of food/its cold/ I can't feel my feet/hands/nose/my brain is swelling up/I lost my way/tent/sleeping bag/gloves/I almost (or you DID) fall off this cliff. All this is followed by the endless anticlimax of the summit if reached and, worst of all, endless navel contemplation about the meaning of it all. I don't know why this stuff is so compelling, but there it is. I read this book in four sittings when I had a lot of more important stuff to do. Then I went out and bought Everest: The West Ridge by Tom Hornbein. And I live in Florida , have never been higher than 5,000 feet and have never climbed anything higher than the roof of my house. Go figure. I will say that these mountaineering books have a significant collateral benefit - they scare the hell out of the wife.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, and read it in one day, pouring through the various chapters and one tragedy to the next. My only complaint is that many of the chapters were excerpts from other books, and the stories sometimes felt unfinished. Those excerpts would cover the hit (or near miss) of the summit, then cover some sort of trial to the participating climbers. The climbers may or may not survive the trial, and then that would be the end of it. I actually craved a little bit more of the post-expedition soul-searching.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed all the books in this series of adventure...or misadventure...stories told by a wide variety of writers, people who were actually there to do the deed and then lived long enough to tell the tale.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains the greatest short stories about climbing that I have ever read. Each story is unique and as entertaining as the other.
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Format: Paperback
These stories, all of excellent quality capture the allure of climbing, the starkness of the experience. They also present tremendously sobering arguments against the journey. As I read each chapter, I noted that almost all of the authors, most of them young men, either died or dissapeared on later expeditions. THAT added some power to their observations of how close the line is between being lucky and dying. A must-read over-view of the world of serious mountain-climbing.
Troy Stabenow
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Format: Paperback
Well worth reading. If you liked into thin air you'll like this book.
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Clint Willis has created a fascinating series of books with Epic, Climb, High, Wild, Ice, Rough Water, and The War. Each of these volumes presents the best literature about their respective subjects in a powerful cohesive manner. These books are a quick read, but intricate and spellbinding. I have given many of them to friends and family as gifts.
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Format: Paperback
A rather commercial book! This is a compilation of reports of well known mountaineers on their glorious deeds on the highest and also mostly exploited mountains of the world, the Mt. Everest and the K2. It comprises a period of 60 years. Among the writers are exclusively protagonists, such names as Messner, Smythe, Bonatti, Bonington and others who report about their personal experiences.
Triumph and tragedy are nowhere so much close together as in the high altitude mountaineering. This becomes clear with this collection of stories. But thirst for glory and self-affirmation are also always included. They only remain unspoken mostly. So far mountaineers are always egoists. And this is often in conflict with the ethos which regards man as superior to his deeds. Of these one can read a lot, self-criticism is not the potency of the aspirant up-coming.
Is this all not going to become boring in the era of commercialization of those peaks and of the purchasability of adventures? No, because human tragedies as well as man`s victories are again fascinating. And it is not always the big deals! Fears and longings! Joys and grief! The one is tested hard when he climbs above a precipice on an alu-ladder on Everest North Col, the other is longing for the sunrise over China which will lessen the icy wind on the K2 and bring some warmth for the freezing hands and feet. Nobody is satisfied with the spectacular views from base camp!
In the death zone everybody is for himself, is often asserted. Matt Dickinson`s contribution tries to make this clear. He climbed the mountain 1996, at the same time as Lene Gammelgard, for who it was also the first adventure of such impact. She also wrote a report on the drama of these days. Mountains are mainly high, but mostly they have deep impact (and depth effect).
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